David Wessel on How ‘Opportunity Zones’ Became a Loophole for Elites'
It sounds good. Lots of tax-averse wealthy have money to invest. Scores of left-behind communities are starved for capital. Public policy can and should intervene. But Mr. Parker and allies apparently failed to appreciate the cleverness and aggressiveness of lawyers, accountants and money managers employed by the wealthy. They found myriad ways to exploit opportunity zones to reduce clients’ tax bills without much attention to those who actually live in the zones.
So what do we learn from all this? If we’re going to use the tax code to nudge rich people to invest in poor neighborhoods, we need stronger guardrails to direct money to intended destinations and more aggressive oversight — yes, from the Treasury Department and the I.R.S. — to counter the legions of well-paid loophole finders.